My Father, My Son
by: Tom Borden

© 2000-2008 by the author


The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent. Comments are appreciated at...


Karl turned and put his hand on Tony's cheek and held it there for a few seconds. "No. You stay here. Everything will be fine."

As Karl started walking out over the flat land ahead of him, Tony put his arms around one of the pillars and watched him. Slowly Karl disappeared far into the darkness where Tony could no longer see him. After a few minutes, Tony heard a single shot in the distance. "Karl! Karl!" Tony screamed as he slumped to the floor of the verandah, still holding on to the pillar. Sobbing, he called again. "Karl! Oh, my God, Karl!


Chapter 43 


Steve had gone to bed that night feeling a growing desire to have Dan in his bed. This desire had been building ever since his experience in Luke's room. He couldn't get it off his mind. He lay there slowing stroking his hard penis as he fantasized about the feel of Dan's body next to his. As he closed his eyes, his mind was filled with the picture of Dan's hot little ass cheeks bobbing up and down as he fucked Luke, the soft hair and light, smooth skin that covered his muscular legs and arms, The thought of going back eventually to his wife kept popping into his head. He felt so adrift. He loved his wife, but he hadn't once fucked her in the past five years. Whose idea was it to stop those intimate nights, anyway? Why did he feel an erotic excitement over Dan that he never quite felt with his wife? He put the questions out of his mind. Bringing himself back to the here and now, with his fantasy of Dan lying next to him like a loving child calling him 'Daddio', he felt his penis begin to enlarge. He also was beginning to sense that familiar 'beyond the point of no return' feeling creeping into his body. He just gave in and let his orgasm overtake him. With his eyes closed, he felt every surge of his sperm as his cum plopped heavily on his stomach.

As Steve lay there, breathless, no longer with any thoughts of anything or anyone on his mind, he heard someone outside of his window, which looked out on the front veranda. It sounded as though someone was weeping loudly. Looking out, he saw Tony, crouched on the floor with his arms around a pillar. Quickly wiping up the mess on his stomach, tasting it, as he always like to do, he put on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. Running outside, he knelt next to Tony.

"Tony. What the matter? What happened, man?"

Tony looked up and, choking back his tears, said, "Oh, Steve, Karl is out there somewhere. He said he was going to shoot some quail. But you don't hunt quail at night. He was acting so strange. Then I heard one shot. He's killed himself, Steve. My God, I'm so scared."

"I can't believe that's what happened, Tony. Let me go in and get a flashlight and I'll go out there and see if I can find him."

Steve, with his flashlight in hand, walked out in the direction that Karl had gone, and soon disappeared from sight. After about ten minutes, he returned to the verandah. "Tony, I couldn't see any sign of him anywhere. It's just flat land. There are no trees anywhere out there for him to be hiding around. This flashlight doesn't shine very far, and there's a lot of space out there where he could be."

"Oh, God, what'll we do, Steve?"

Steve said, "I'm going to go and get Jake. He's the only one in charge around here at the moment."

It was now after midnight, and everything was dark and quiet around the bunkhouse. As Steve knocked lightly on Jake's door several times, he could hear Jake inside saying, "What the fuck?"

When Jake opened the door in all his nakedness, Steve didn't forget what he had come for, but felt his penis jump slightly at the sight of this fine specimen of an older man with his muscular physique, strong legs and arms, and full, solid chest covered with hair.

As soon as Steve told Jake about Karl's venture into the night, Jake said, "That fuckin' asshole. He's more stupid than I thought. Come on in. I'll git dressed and we'll take the jeep out there to look fer him."

As Steve watched Jake pulling up his jeans and struggling to tuck his enormous balls and semi-hard penis into them, he said "Hi" to Enrique, who was lying on his back and holding onto his penis. "I'm sorry you guys," said Steve, "that I had to disturb you. I'm afraid I interrupted something."

"Don't worry about it, Steve," said Enrique, sitting up. "I just can't believe Karl would shoot himself. I know he's been in a terrible state since all this trouble began. But why would he kill himself?"

Jake and Steve took off in the jeep and drove all over the area that stretched out in front of the house. The headlights were strong and shown for many yards ahead of them. After a full hour of criss-crossing the area with no luck, they returned to the house, where Tony was still waiting on the verandah.

"Well that fuck-head obviously don't want his body found. Maybe he buried hisself already so no one'll find him," said Jake. "We better wait until daylight, and then go back agin."

Tony said, "I guess I won't go to bed tonight. It's almost time for me to get up again and start fixing the Help's breakfast."

Steve put his arm around Tony's waist and said, "Tony, listen, I'll help you this morning. I've always been pretty good in the kitchen. I don't know much about preparing large amounts of food for a big gang of hungry men like you have to. You can just tell me what needs fixing, and then give me a little guidance, and I'll do it. Okay?"

"I usually have Clayton helping me," said Tony. "But I appreciate your offering to help. I think I can use it today. I'm so worried."

A faint glow came into the sky in the east, signaling the start of another day. Tony and Steve went on into the kitchen, along with Jake. Jake sat at the table, and Enrique came in to join them. Suddenly, the door flung open, and in walked Karl with his shotgun under one arm and a quail under the other. Throwing the quail on the Table, he said, "Well, here's your quail. You might as well pluck it clean, Tony, and cook it up for supper."

The other four stood motionless in disbelief. Then Tony burst into tears again and threw his arms around Karl. Jake said, "You goddamned asshole! We thought ya went out and shot yer fuckin' self!"

"Why would you think that," said Karl calmly. "I told Tony here that I was going out quail hunting."

Tony said, "I heard a shot not long after you walked off last night. Why didn't you come back then? It's daybreak now."

"Well, I had a lot of thinking to do," said Karl, "and I just walked all the way over to Michael's house in the Cottonwoods and sat on the porch there alone and just thought things over. Is there anything wrong with that?"

Steve said, "Karl, why don't you go on and get cleaned up. I know you must want to shower and shave. Then come back here and Tony and I will fix you a good breakfast."

"I'm not hungry at all," said Karl. "I just want to go back to the room and get my things together. I'll be out of here in the morning."

"Karl, please!" begged Tony.

"Aw, Tony," said Karl hugging him tightly. "Remember last night, I talked to you about that. I did a lot of thinking out there during the night. I don't belong here, that's all. Michael doesn't deserve to have to put up with people like me."

"That's fer fuckin' sure!" murmured Jake.

"I'm going back to New York, and I've decided to see if I can get some help. You know, the way I am. It isn't good. It just isn't good. You remember, Tony, when we were in New York, I treated you just as badly. And I know that. But you always stuck with me, no matter how much I always hurt you. You always meant the world to me, Tony. But I just never seemed to be able to help myself."

"Karl, please," said Tony, still holding onto Karl. "Jeff's gone to get Michael, and they'll be back this evening. Please wait and talk to him before you decide to leave. Please!"

"I've already decided, Tony. In a few minutes, when the offices open, I'm going to call our lawyer and have him initiate the dissolution of our partnership agreement. I'm not taking anything away with me." Then looking at Jake, "I never 'stole' Michael's ranch from him. Now he'll have it all . . . the way it was before I came."

As Karl headed back to his room, Tony followed. "Tony, please. I have to be alone. I have a lot of things to do before I go."

"This was just a little mistake you made Karl. You don't have to leave because of it."

"Little mistake? It was the worst mistake I ever made in my life."

Jake and Enrique went back to their room to get ready for breakfast and the start of their work day. Steve stayed with Tony, as he had promised, and they both started working on breakfast.

Michael arrived at the cabana early and was one of the first to be seated. The waiter said, "Mr. Walker, I have your table right here. Francisco arranged it for you." With a wink, the waiter said, "Francisco will be watching for you when he starts the show. You're a lucky hombre. He's very choosy. I know."

Michael could see that the waiter also had eyes for Francisco. "You've been with him? I mean . . . you know . . . have you been with him?"

"Oh, no. I have tried to catch his eye when I bring him drinks on the bandstand, but he doesn't notice me. I can only dream."

Without having ordered it, a triple Scotch on the rocks was immediately delivered to Michael's table by another waiter, who favored him with a knowing wink of his own. All through the show, Francisco and Michael rarely took their eyes off of each other. Michael thought, 'With the love I have for Karl, why am I burning up so much with desire for this beautiful man, Francisco?'

When the show was over, Michael went out on the sand and found the same beach chair he was in the previous night. And just like the previous night, Francisco soon appeared along the beach, barefoot, walking toward Michael. And in continued repetition, he leaned over and kissed Michael and invited him to walk along the beach with him.

They walked hand in hand, sometimes with their arms around each other's waist, and sometimes stopping to kiss deeply and passionately.

When they arrived at Francisco's hotel, he said, "You'll come up to my room with me, no?"

As they opened the door to Francisco's room, there in the middle of the room was a small table set up with two tall stemmed glasses and a large bottle of Champagne cooling in a bucket of ice. "We'll have Champagne now to celebrate our love, and we'll drink to our last night together."

Michael was overcome. Everything was so different from the western style courting rituals on a Texas ranch. As they raised their glasses, Francisco said, "To you, señor, my beautiful Michael Walker, and to us, and to our love." As Michael sipped, he said, rather un-eloquently, "I could get used to this. I mean, this is so wonderful . . . so romantic."

Francisco poured another glass for each of them and led Michael to the sofa. When they sat down, Francisco said, "This is how everyone should begin a beautiful evening. A little Champagne, a kiss and another kiss, and then into each other's arms."

Francisco put down his glass and said, "Come close to me, Michael. I want to kiss you."

Michael pushed himself close to Francisco and they kissed gently at first. Then they kissed deeply with their arms around each other. Francisco then stood up and said, "Stand in front of me, Michael. I want to gently remove your clothing so that I can watch your wonderful body slowly emerge from beneath them."

As Francisco slowly removed Michael's new shirt, he leaned over and kissed Michael's chest and nipples, then running his tongue down over his stomach. Then, again very slowly, he unfastened Michael's buckle and unzipped the fly, pushing his pants down over his legs until they lay around his ankles. Michael's penis was hard and standing straight out. Francisco ran his tongue over the shaft and down over Michael's balls. Then continuing with his tongue down over the soft hair on Michael's legs, the sensation was almost too much for Michael. He began to feel dizzy and grasped onto the back of a straight chair to steady himself.

When Michael was finally standing there completely naked, Francisco slowly began removing his own clothes, piece by piece. To see this god-like creature slowly revealing his nakedness almost brought tears to Michael's eyes. It was all he could do to keep from hurling himself again Francisco body. He felt like a teenager again, allowing himself to be seduced by the most gorgeous human being he'd ever seen. As Francisco removed his last article of clothing, he walked slowly over to Michael and took him in his arms and kissed him deeply.

"I want you to love me tonight, my dearest one," whispered Francisco. "Take me completely. There's no tomorrow. There's only tonight, and you and I are the only two people in the world. Love me, please."

As they sidled toward the bed, still in each other's arms, Francisco and Michael collapsed onto it. As they kissed and ran their hands all over each other's body, Michael whispered, "I want you inside of me Francisco. I want your whole body inside of me so I can keep it forever."

Francisco kissed and ran his tongue down over Michael's torso until it met his gorged penis. Lifting Michael's legs, he ran his tongue down along the area between Michael's balls and thigh. Michael did his best to loosen up his sphincter muscle as he felt Francisco's tongue swirling over his asshole. Then he could feel Francisco's tongue enter. Michael wished that somehow he could get his head in a position where he could watch Francisco's tongue move into his asshole. The picture of it in his mind almost drove him crazy. Then Francisco rose up on his haunches and began moving his hands all over Michael's chest, stomach and abdomen, and then down over his legs. He watched Francisco's face, which was covered with a look of intense desire. Michael could see that Francisco wanted him as much as he wanted Francisco.

Holding Michael's legs up as high as he could, Francisco mounted him and slowly pushed his magnificent hard penis into his asshole. Michael continued to look at Francisco's face on which beads of sweat began to appear. As he began to pump harder and harder, Francisco had a look of frenzy on his face, and his expression became more and more intense. Michael prayed that Francisco would not cum for awhile. The feel of his hard cock inside of him, pushing against his prostate, was beyond description.

"Oh, Francisco, push your whole body into me! Please!" cried Michael. "And never stop!"

"My dear beautiful Michael," panted Francisco, "I want to fill your whole body with my hot semen. And, and yes, I wish I could push my whole body inside of you."

Michael could tell that Francisco could no longer hold it. Sweat was now dripping profusely off of Francisco's face, and Michael could feel Francisco's whole body tensing with every muscle throbbing and quivering. He could even feel the penis inside of him expanding. Suddenly, Francisco threw his head back and, with a deep-throated shout, he passed his sperm violently into Michael's rectum. He pounded his pelvis against Michael's ass with every surge. Michael could feel the warmth filling up his rectum, and cried out himself, "Harder, harder!"

As Francisco's orgasm began to wane, he collapsed onto Michael body, moving his stomach around on Michael's stomach, sliding easily with so much of Francisco's sweat between them. They kissed over and over again. Francisco slowly pulled his penis out of Michael's hole and slid down. Burying his face in Michael's crotch, Francisco licked his asshole, sucking out as much of his cum as he could. With cum spread all over the lower part of his face, he pushed back up and kissed Michael again. Michael licked as much cum as he could off of Francisco's face.

With Michael still on his back, Francisco straddled his body, with his crotch over Michael's face, and Michael's hard penis in his mouth. As Michael probed Francisco's crotch and asshole with his tongue, Francisco ran his lips up and down Michael's shaft, faster and faster. The taste of Francisco's sweaty, musky ass trench quickly brought Michael to the brink. "I can't hold it, Francisco! I've got to let it go. Ohhhhhhhh!" As Michael sent stream after stream of his hot cum into the Francisco's throat, it bubbled up and caused Francisco's sucking to make a slurping noise.

After Michael's orgasm was over, Francisco didn't pull off for a very long time. He sucked and licked Michael's deflating penis until he had sucked out every drop. Finally, sitting up next to Michael's prostrate body, Francisco looked down at him and said, "You are my love. My only love. This night is not over. Would you like . . . or would you mind . . . my dearest Michael, if I gave you a full body massage? I can't keep my hands off of your body, so I might as well not be selfish and let you have some of the pleasure, too."

"It would be all my pleasure, Francisco. And do you think I can keep my hands off of your body? No way. I'll give you a massage, too. But I warn you, I give my massages with both my tongue and my hands. Okay?"

Francisco's gentle hands sent Michael into a euphoria that he had never felt before. Even though it had not been long since he had shot what he thought was the biggest load of cum he had ever shot, his penis was once again as hard as stone. It soon came time for him to give Francisco the tongue bath of his life. The feel of Francisco's velvety smooth dark skin on his tongue and lips was such a sensuous and erotic sensation that Michael felt he must be in a dream. They were both once again hard and horny beyond all words and they sucked each other off in a wild sixty-nine, both depositing huge loads of thick hot cum into each other's mouth.

It was now 2:45 a.m., and they lay in each other's arms, each drifting off to sleep. It was close to noon when they awoke. Michael looked at his watch. "Francisco, I need to get back to my hotel. Jeff will be arriving at 1:45 this afternoon. I need to be there when he comes to my hotel."

"Michael, would you mind if I drove you both to the airport? I would like to meet your son . . . to see this boy who has such a beautiful father."

"No, I would like you to meet him. I intend to tell him everything. I want him to know about you, my love." The words, "my love," just slipped out almost without Michael knowing it. But it sounded so right, and he smiled. "I warn you, though. He's going to be very angry with me for running away . . . I mean taking this vacation without telling him. But he loves me, and I love him, and his anger won't last long.

When Michael returned to his hotel, he quickly showered and shaved and packed up his suitcase to be ready when Jeff arrived. As he stood at the window, looking down at the people on the beach, he saw Jeff get out of a taxi and enter the hotel. As soon as Jeff entered Michael's room, they flew into each other's arms and kissed.

"Oh, Dad," said Jeff. "What am I going to do with you? You know that what you did is not like you at all. Only love-sick school girls run away like you did. I see you're ready to go. Our flight leaves for San Antonio in almost two hours."

"Jeff," said Michael. "We have time. Sit down for a minute, will you. I have to be truthful with you about something. I met someone here and . . . ."

"Oh, Dad," blurted Jeff. "Don't tell me you went that far."

"No, wait a minute, Jeff. He is one of the most wonderful men I have ever met."

"Dad, you just got involved with someone on the rebound. You were upset, and did something foolish."

"Jeff, I want you to listen to me. I met a wonderful man who treated me like I've never been treated before. He's an Argentinian, and he's the bandleader for a show down there at a cabana attached to this hotel. His name is Francisco."

Jeff gave a short laugh and said. "A bandleader? Oh, Dad, please!

"Jeff. You're going to meet him. He's offered to drive us to the airport. You'll see what I'm talking about when you meet him." Michael went to the phone and called Francisco to tell him when they needed to leave for the airport.

"Dad, let's talk seriously now," said Jeff. "I want you to know that Karl is very upset over what happened."

"He didn't like me leaving like that, I suppose," said Michael.

"It wasn't that, Dad. He knows what he did is wrong and he is in a terrible state of anguish over it."

"He is?"

"Yes, Dad. He is. Now here, you go off like a sore-head kid and do the same damned thing with another guy. How do you think this solves anything? You and Karl need to talk seriously and work this out."

"Jeff, I've been through all that before," said Michael, waving his arm. "Talking just doesn't seem to do any good. But Francisco is sweet and understanding, and . . . ."

"Fuck Francisco, Dad! We're not talking about him."

"Don't say that!" shouted Michael. "Don't talk that way!"

Jeff took his dad by the arm and led him over to sit on the side of the bed. Taking Michael in his arms, he said, "Oh, Dad. I'm sorry. I really do understand. Francisco helped you through your hurt. But we'll be back at the ranch soon, and you and Karl can work on this. You can't do anything way off here in Mexico."

"Jeff, Francisco did more than help me through my hurt, as you put it. He showed me love like I've never known before. I've fallen for him, Jeff. Right now, he's all I want. I wish you could understand. It may have been 'on the re-bound' like you said, at first. But it's no longer that. Right now I feel as though I could spend the rest of my life with him."

"After only two days? Okay, Dad, I won't say any more," said Jeff as he kissed his dad on the forehead.

"Francisco said he'd pick us up in front of the hotel in ten minutes. We'd better go on down and be there when he arrives."

When Francisco arrived, he jumped out and ran around to open the door for Michael and Jeff. "You must be Jeff," he said, extending his hand. Jeff hadn't noticed that his mouth had dropped open at the sight of Francisco.

"Close your mouth, Jeff," whispered Michael.

"It was very nice of you to come all this way to bring your father home," said Francisco with a smile. "I expect you will be a great help to him in getting through what awaits him at home. He's lucky to have you."

"Yes, I expect so," aid Jeff, still stunned at the devastatingly good looks of this man."

Michael and Jeff sat in the back seat, with Jeff holding on tightly to his father's hand. At the airport, when boarding was announced for their flight, Francisco took Michael in his arms and hugged him tightly. "I'm going to miss you, my love. You'll miss me, too, no?"

"I don't want to leave," whispered Michael with tears welling in his eyes.

Holding Michael out at arm's length, Francisco said, "Now, now! Why are you having tears? Only we Latins are supposed to be emotional and have tears. Remember what I said. We will meet again some day, my love. Give me your hand." Francisco pressed a small piece of paper into Michael's hand. "Here are my telephone numbers in both Acapulco and in Puerto Vallarta, and my home address there. Would you give me your address?"

As Michael fumbled for pen and some paper, Jeff quickly wrote out Michael's phone number and address on a piece of paper and handed it to Francisco.

"Thank you, Jeff. Take care of your father. He is very special to me." Then turning again to Michael, "Let me kiss you, my love. I'll hold this kiss on my lips until we meet again."

As Michael and Jeff approached the gangway to the plane, they looked back, and Francisco shouted, "Adios, amante mio!"

On the flight home, Michael sat quietly, feeling overwhelmingly sad to be leaving Mexico. Francisco had called it a "vacation romance" right out of a romance novel. Michael smiled to himself and thought it was more like a fantastic dream.

Jeff finally spoke. "Did you tell Francisco about the trouble at home. He seemed to know about it."

"No, I never mentioned it. But he knew why I was there, somehow. I've never known anyone so perceptive."

They both sat silently for a long time. Then Jeff said, "He's a very handsome guy, Dad. Did you sleep with him?"

"Jeff, please. It's just hard for me to . . . ."

"I know, Dad. No more questions. When you want to tell me about him, that will be soon enough." After a few minutes, idly staring out of the window into the clouds, Jeff said, "When I shook hands with him, his grip was strong, but his hand was slender and smooth with the longest fingers. They were so graceful and thin."

Michael kept his eyes closed and said nothing. But Jeff found himself sitting there, still looking out of the window and becoming aroused with the picture of Francisco's handsome face and the feel of his hand whirling around in his mind. He almost felt jealous of his father. He thought it best, though, to put Francisco out of his mind if he could, and took the airline magazine out of the pocket in front of him and carefully read through a long article about the hard times being visited upon the cruise ship business since 9-11.

When Michael and Jeff arrived back at the ranch about eight o'clock, they found that Tony and Steve had dinner waiting for them. Tony even had a triple Scotch on the rocks poured and on the kitchen table.

"Tony, thanks a lot. Where's Karl?"

"He's in his . . . I mean . . . in your room. He's been there all day."

"Well, I'm going to down this drink, and then I've got to go in and talk to him. Hold dinner, won't you please."

As Michael downed his drink, Tony said, "Michael, please do what you can to make him stay. Don't let him leave."

"Leave? What do you mean?" asked Michael.

Before Tony could answer, Steve interjected, "Nothing, Michael. Just go on in and talk with him. We'll keep dinner warm for you until you're ready." As Michael walked toward his room, Steve said, "Tony, you've got a lot to learn about what to say and when to say it. And I wish you'd stop being so hysterical. They'll talk it out between them, and then what they decide will be for the best, I'm sure."

Michael opened the door and walked in, finding Karl carefully packing up his clothing and other belongings in suitcases and boxes for mailing.

"Karl, I'm sorry. I'm sorry I left. It was the wrong thing to do."

Karl laughed and shouted sneeringly through his teeth, "Oh, Christ, Michael! Isn't that just your way! Always laying blame on yourself to minimize the guilt of others." Then with tears welling up in his eyes, he faced Michael and shouted, "Come on out with it, Michael, let me see your worst side! Give me all the vitriol you can summon up! Just let me have it! Don't give me this 'I'm sorry' stuff. Get mad for once in your life, Michael! Hit me, throw something at me, call me all the rotten names you can think of! There is nothing you could do to me or call me that I don't deserve! But don't, for Christ's sake, tell me you're sorry!"

Karl abruptly sat on the side of the bed and buried his head in his hands. Michael stood almost paralyzed. He didn't know what to do. As hurt as he had been at finding Karl that day with Noah, he would never think of calling him names or hitting him, or even insulting him. Michael thought THAT may have been the trouble. If he had only screamed and raved and ranted more at Karl, maybe none of this would have happened. But that kind of behavior was not in him. 'But instead,' he thought, 'I just run away.' Either way, it looked like he might lose Karl.

Finally, Michael said, softly, "I can't Karl. I can't do those things to you. I'm not your judge and jury, nor am I your executioner. And I'm not the one to mete out punishment. I don't have to point out anything you may have done wrong. You know without being yelled at or beaten up. You need to be accountable to your own conscience. Whether you like it or not, I will tell you that I am sorry for running off the way I did. It was wrong and probably cowardly. But when I tell you I am sorry for that, I assure you that I am not trying to minimize your guilt. And, Karl, has it ever crossed your mind to apologize to me?

Karl looked up. "Michael, has it crossed my mind? Ha! If there are a million ways to say I apologize, I have thought of every one of them over the last few days. But none of them is strong enough. You say I need to be accountable to my own conscience, that you're not responsible for my punishment. I know that, Michael, I have been accountable to my own conscience, and I will mete out my own punishment. I'm leaving here tomorrow. I'm turning my share of this ranch back to you, and the worst punishment of all, I'm leaving behind the one and only greatest love of my life . . . the only man I ever truly loved."

Michael started to move toward Karl.

"No, Michael, don't come close to me. I never knew anything about what it meant to love and be loved, and to care for someone so deeply as I've cared for you. I would never have believed that this could ever happen to me."

Michael inched closer to the bed and slowly sat down next to Karl. Putting his arm around Karl's shoulder, he quietly said, "We can work on this together, Karl."

Karl whispered, "No. The pain I've caused you, I'll . . . do it again. I can't help myself, Michael. I don't know what's wrong with me. But I'm going to find out. When I get back to New York, I'm going to get help. There are people there who know about these things. I'll get help."

Karl buried his head in his hands again, and the two of them sat there together very still for a long time.

Michael finally said, "Karl, let's go on and get into bed. You look so tired and exhausted."

"No, Michael. It's not right," said Karl as he broke away from Michael and stood up. "I can't do what I did and then act as though nothing happened. You stay here. I'm going to sleep, if I can, in Maggie's old room."

As Karl left the room, he turned to Michael and said, "You have never done anything to be sorry for. I'll never stop loving you, and I'll never ever forget you."

As the door closed, Michael fell back on the bed. Suddenly, he had never felt so empty and lonely and helpless in his life. Of course, Francisco was wonderful, but there had never been anyone whom he loved more than Karl. He knew that not very many others on the ranch liked Karl, but they never understood him, he thought. Karl's problems should be his own and Michael's problems to work out together—no one else's. Karl shouldn't have to bear them alone, he thought. He would sleep tonight, and in the morning he was sure that Karl would see things differently and they could begin to deal with it together.

Michael left the room and joined Tony, Steve, and Jeff in the kitchen for the dinner they had prepared for him. It was a plate of spare ribs and corn bread, one of Michael's favorites. Everyone sat around, with no one speaking as Michael ate. They were afraid to ask what had transpired between Michael and Karl. Because of Michael's quiet sullen demeanor, they assumed that it had not been a pleasant confrontation.

Soon, Michael put down his fork and said, "This is really good, Tony, as it always is. But I'm just not very hungry. Put the rest in the refrigerator, and then we can warm it up and I'll finish it for lunch tomorrow. I'm very tired. Good night."

As Michael departed, Clayton came in and announced that he saw Karl carrying his toilet articles and going into Maggie's old room and closing the door. And he heard the latch being turned.

Tony sat down and put his head in his hands. Jeff said, "Oh, my God. This is going to be a long haul."

Tony said, "Well, I don't think it will be too long. While you were gone and getting Michael, Karl packed up all his stuff and said he was leaving and going back to New York tomorrow morning."

Jeff had not heard this bit of news. "I wonder if I should go in and tell Dad."

Steve spoke up and said, "I've been around the block a couple of times in my life, and I pretty well know how these confrontations go. I think it's a sure bet that Michael already knows about it."

The next morning, just as a faint pinkness appeared in the east, Michael awoke, eager to talk again with Karl. Turning on the light, he saw that all the boxes and suitcases were no longer in the room. Jumping up and, without thinking to put on any clothes, ran out naked and down to Maggie's room. The door was unlocked. As soon as he stepped in, he saw that the bed had not been slept in, and there was no sign of Karl or any of his belongings.

Racing back to his room to put on some pants and a shirt, he saw a note lying on the dresser. It said only:


My dear Michael.

You have always been, and you will always be the greatest love of my life. This is for the best. Pray for me.

All my love,



Running into the kitchen where Tony and Steve had just arrived to begin preparing breakfast, Michael shouted, "Karl's gone! Did either of you see him leave?" Looking out of the kitchen door, he could see that Karl's car was no longer there. Tony stood with his back to the stove, cupping his hands over his mouth as though in shock. As Michael slumped into a chair at the table, Steve poured him a cup of coffee and sat down with him. Michael put his head down on the table, and Steve reached over and gently massaged his neck and shoulders.

Tony began to say something. But Steve held up his hand, "No, Tony. Don't say anything. This is not the time. Tony gasped, covered his mouth again, and ran from the room. After a long while, Steve said, "Come on, Michael, let me walk you back to your room where you can lie down. You look as though you've had no sleep."

Steve held onto Michael's arm as they walked back to his room. Steve could tell that Michael was devastated. As Michael stretched out on the bed, Steve drew up the spread and covered him with it. "Michael, would you like someone to stay with you, or would you like me to leave."

Closing his eyes, Michael said, "You can stay if you wish."

"I'll stay for a few minutes until you go to sleep, Michael. Then I need to get back to the kitchen to get breakfast started for the workers. I don't know if Tony is going to be any help."

When Steve returned to the kitchen, he found Jeff, who had just gotten up and was rubbing his eyes. "Hasn't anyone started breakfast yet?" he said.

Steve explained what had happened, that Karl was gone, and that Michael was back in his room trying to sleep. Jeff sat down heavily at the table. "I thought this might happen. I had hoped the two of them could work it out. Poor Dad. He didn't deserve this. He just doesn't deserve the treatment people give him. He's just too damned nice. They walk all over him." Then after a few minutes, Jeff said reflectively, "I suspected that there is something wrong with Karl, other than mere thoughtlessness. He needs help. And I hope he gets it. Otherwise, he's a nice person, and he loved my father passionately. What a goddamned shame."

"I know," said Steve.

Looking up, Jeff said, "And Steve, I want to thank you for doing what you're doing. You know, with the kitchen and all that. And with being so willing to go out and look for Karl and to take my dad back to his room and see that he got some rest." Jeff thought about asking Steve right there some questions about himself and Dan. There were things he didn't understand about those two. But this wasn't the time. Besides, Steve had his work cut out for him getting breakfast to the men.

That afternoon, Michael had gotten up and was sitting on the front verandah, looking with unseeing eyes out toward the horizon when Patrick Dunstable, his lawyer arrived with a sheaf of papers for Michael to sign.

"Good afternoon, Michael," said Dunstable as he stepped up onto the verandah. "This is probably not a good time, but there never is a good time to deal with unpleasant matters, is there? I have here the papers that you need to sign concerning the dissolution of the partnership between you and Karl. Would you like me to leave them with you so you can sign them when you feel up to it?"

"No, no, Pat. I'll sign them now. Just tell me where. Why don't you sit down and keep me company for awhile. And here, let me pour you a coffee. And please. Help yourself to a scone. They're delicious with a little bit of that strawberry jam. Karl loved scones. I guess it was his English upbringing. Maggie used to make them perfectly to Karl's liking, and now Tony does them just as well."

Patrick helped himself to a scone and a liberal amount of jam. "Michael, I hated to see Karl break away like this. You were such good partners. I . . . I'm sorry. Karl, with his good business sense, did a lot for this ranch."

"Yes, he did."

Dunstable continued, "And I do know what Karl meant to you personally, Michael. This may surprise you, but I once had a partner very much like him before I was married."

"You did?"

"Yes, those were the days I was very confused about a lot things. I loved him very much, but, alas, he was more interested in playing the field, so to speak. I eventually lost him, and I thought the end of the world had come. But with time, I got past it. The only trouble is that I got married too soon after that. I did it on the rebound after I lost Joe. It was then too late, but I did learn that one should never make snap decisions about his life while he is in that fragile state of mind following a break-up. You might think about that, too, Michael. Don't do anything foolish, anything that is against your better judgment, until you are completely over the shock and the hurt when you can once again think clearly."

"Thanks, Pat. I'm not thinking much at all today. I just feel empty . . . terribly empty."

"Well, Michael, I must be going. Thank you so much for the coffee, and give my compliments to Tony on the scones. They were indeed delicious."

As dinner time approached, Jeff appeared on the verandah with a triple Scotch on the rocks for his dad. Sitting down in the wicker rocker next to Michael, he said, "Dad, I'm going to have to drive back to Austin this evening. I have already missed several classes, but I need to be at my seven-thirty class tomorrow morning. Final exams for this semester are coming up, and the instructor for this class is going to give us a thorough review tomorrow. I wish I could stay with you a few more days. I will come back here this coming weekend."

"I understand, Jeff. You've gone way beyond the call of duty already. I'll be just fine. You need to get back to school. And above all, you need to get back to Paul. I'm well taken care of here now. But Paul needs you with him. That's where you belong."

"You know, Dad, I don't really know what's going through your mind about Karl. But I really believe he's got a serious problem that is out of control. He needs help. It's like an addiction. After the last time this happened, I had a long talk with one of my psychology professors about it."

"Did you mention Karl and me specifically?"

"Yeah, sure. He understands. He's like us. Paul and I have seen him at The Nest several times."

"Jeff, I don't think it's a good idea for you and Paul to go into that place," warned Michael. "Paul's got a position to protect, and if people found out about you two, he may have real trouble with his job."

"Dad, everyone at the University knows about Paul and me. It doesn't matter to anyone. In fact both this professor and Paul have admitted that they sucked each other's dicks a couple of times back before I met Paul. But as I was saying this professor told me that what Karl has is an addiction to sex, just like someone is addicted to drugs or cigarettes of alcohol. It needs to be treated just like those other addictions."

Michael shook his head. "I've never heard of an addiction to sex. You either like sex or you don't. The problem isn't whether or not you like sex; the problem is whether you've decided to be loyal to your partner or you're going to practice infidelity. Sex is sex. I don't understand all this business about addiction. We're all addicted to it. It's great. When we don't have it, we crave it."

"But Dad, he explained to me that there are degrees of addiction. The addiction can be so strong that it sometimes overshadows and overtakes all other feelings of love and loyalty. In the case of Karl, we both know how much he loved and cherished you, but it might be that the need for pure sex was so strong, that it completely overpowered him and made him act without regard for his love for you. You know how some men have torn apart their families, who they loved very much, because of their addiction to alcohol, for instance."

"You may be right, Jeff. I should have understood. Karl and I should be together right at this moment dealing with this. But I ran off and left him alone and gave him a chance to make this decision without me. I could have prevented this."

"I really think it's best this way, Dad. I think he's serious about getting help now. If he'd stayed, he wouldn't have gotten help. It would just continue to be the same thing. I know you never liked confrontations. But I think with you and Karl, continuous confrontations would merely have exacerbated the problem, rather than helping."

"You're right, Jeff, as you always are." With a laugh, Michael said, "We've been having role-reversal, haven't we? My little guy has suddenly grown up and become very wise, while his old man is becoming helpless and stupid. He even ran away from home and you had to go and rescue him. That's not the way it should be, Jeff. I know that, and I'm sorry."

"Dad, look at me," reaching over and taking hold of Michael's chin and turning his head. "No, that ain't the way it should be, and that ain't the way it is. You're still my mentor. You're still the smartest, wisest man I know, you're still my handsome dad, I still look up to you like you're ten feet tall. It isn't role-reversal, Dad. It's pure love and respect for a dad from his grateful and humble son."

With a devilish smile, Michael turned to Jeff and punched him in the arm and said, "Gee, you're gonna make me cry!"

"Aw, Dad, don't make fun of me, now. Hey, let's go and get Jake and his guys to saddle up a couple of horses, and we'll ride out to that stream we used to go to a lot. It'll do you good, and we'll be back in time for supper. Okay?"

As they stood and watched Michael and his son ride off, Jake said to Enrique, "I think Michael's gonna be okay, Ricky. It's great to see Michael and Jeff together like that agin." As he put his arm around Enrique's shoulder, he said, "Michael's still that vulnerable little boy I knew so many years ago. He never deserved that fuckin' ass treatment he got from that fuck-head Karl."

Steve insisted that Tony get hold of himself and get into the kitchen so they could both work on dinner for the men. "Tony, you've got to realize that Karl's decision to go back to New York was best decision for both him and Michael. He'll get treatment there, and surely that's what you want for him."

Clayton came into the kitchen and said, "Is there anything I can do to help?"

Just then the kitchen phone rang. Clayton said, "I'll get it."

Picking up the receiver, Clayton said, "Hello."

From the other end came, "Clayton! Darling! It's Maggie! Rhapsody and I had a simply marvelous cruise! But now we're back!"

To be continued...


Posted: 09/19/08